Thursday, March 29, 2012

Nick's on Broadway, Providence, Rhode Island

The highlight of our dining tour of Providence this past weekend was, without a doubt, our Sunday morning brunch.  We sat in our hotel room on Sunday morning and poured through Chowhound and Yelp seeking out where to go for brunch before heading over to Johnson and Wales University to check out the Culinary Museum.  Almost unanimously the internet rewarded us with Nick's on Broadway as the stop for brunch in Providence.  We are not one's to argue with the internet, so we headed to Nick's. 

We were greeted with a line out the door, as apparently the rest of Providence also knows how to use the internet :-).  When I spoke to the hostess to give our name for a table, she asked if the bar was ok if seats were available sooner. The only bar I saw was the literal bar where drinks were made, but I agreed as my stomach was clamoring for food.  As we stood, waiting, we saw the other bar.  A line of stools sat perched next to a dining counter that looked the open kitchen.  Sitting at those spots would have been a perfect view of the food being prepared, the chef interactions, and general food geek inducing amazement.  We, through divine intervention I can only assume, were awarded three seats at this coveted bar. 

We pulled up our seats, ordered coffee and juice, and though we tried to concentrate on the menus, the show happening in front of us was tough to pull ourselves away from.  Every dish was finely crafted, eggs cooked with finesse, perfect circular pancakes flipped and plated with just the slightest of hand.  To every plate, chef owner Derek Wagner added the finishing touches- a leaf of parsley here, a sprinkle of mint there, a shower of Parmesan cheese on another plate.  The chefs and cooks moved and worked together in harmony- like a finely crafted orchestra each one performing their assigned task, and not missing a beat no matter what was thrown at them.  Even better than watching their incredible precision, was watching their camaraderie.  Sitting at those seats was a window into a different world, a world I am truly fascinated by.

That aside, there was the food.  Most likely based on our extreme staring for over an hour, Chef sent over some breakfast parfaits to get us started.  Homemade cinnamon granola was paired with tangy yogurt, fresh cut up melon and berries, a drizzle of honey and a few torn leaves of mint.  Simple as this parfait was, it combined a delicious mix of textures and flavors, ranging from the warming comfort of cinnamon, to the bright flavors of fresh fruit and refreshing mint. 

After a long debate, and much back and forth, I settled on Parmesan and herb polenta topped with spinach and two eggs as my breakfast.  I was served a gorgeous plate of two squares of firm polenta, liberally topped with fresh baby spinach, two poached eggs and then topped with a healthy dose of grated Parmesan cheese and enhanced with herb and chili oils.  The polenta was well flavored, every bite containing a burst of a variety of herbs.  The spinach added a nice fresh component, and when my poached eggs were burst the runny yolk made everything just a bit more luxurious. 

I love the combinations of this breakfast, and as I sat with my friends, this food was the only thing that captivated us as much as watching the chefs in the kitchen during our visit to Nick's on Broadway.  Nick's is definitely a key spot for brunch in Providence, and with their commitment to using local fresh ingredients, I am certain that every meal Chef Derek Wagner and his team produces is fantastic.  Nick's alone is worth the trip from Boston to Providence.  


Aimee said...

What a heavenly brunch. What a show. This really was an epic dining event. So glad we all got to share in the culinary nerdiness!

Colleen @ Culinary Colleen said...

Those poached eggs look beautiful! I love all of that freshly grated parm...

Michelle Collins said...

I recently interviewed Nick for an article in Foodies of New England Magazine. Great guy!

Jen said...

I agree - it was definitely the highlight of the weekend. I would go back to Provi just to eat at Nick's again in a heartbeat.

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